It has been over a year since the global pandemic started and researchers are still trying to find out some answers related to the novel virus and how it attacks people from different age groups. In the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was thought that children are less affected by the virus. But now the experts are worried that Coronavirus infected children could end up suffering crippling long-term health problems.
As per reports, in the UK almost 74,000 children already have Long COVID—also known as a post-COVID-19 syndrome, in which the patients suffer from the ramification of the SARS-CoV-2 caused disease.
The symptoms of Long COVID include headaches, fatigue, brain fog, muscle pain and even paralysis. But according to parents, the condition in minors is brushed off by GPs as the vast majority of children who caught COVID-19 developed no symptoms.
Nichola Careless, the mother of a 12-year-old son Mani, said that her son who used to play rugby and football, has been in a wheelchair after contracting the Coronavirus infection in September 2020. Mani was admitted to the hospital. His condition was so bad that he was "paralyzed from the neck down", said Careless.
"He was twitching, had rashes all over, his face was flushed and skin was peeling off his hands and feet," she added. A consultant told the family of Mani, who is from Newcastle, that he might have the Long COVID.
Another mother, Charlie Mountford-Hill said that her five children suffered heart pain, developed breathing issues, rashes, nose bleeding and mouth ulcers. She added that they "were not the same children" anymore, reported Mirror.
Considering how COVID-19 is affecting the kids, experts now urging a vaccination program for kids and new measures in schools when children return after reopening.
COVID-19 and Children
A study conducted by the Office for National Statistics in the UK found that 15 percent of 12 to 16-year-olds and 13 percent of the kids aged between two to 11 still have symptoms five weeks after a positive COVID-19 test.
Around 500,000 UK children are known to have contracted the Coronavirus infection, which suggests that almost 74,000 have had Long COVID.
A pediatrician Anthony Costello who also served as director of maternal, child and adolescent health at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, said that there is a lot to be concerned about and half of the children could develop COVID-19 unless they are vaccinated.
"There are 19 million children. If we let them remain unvaccinated and half become infected that's nine-and-a-half million. If 15 percent get prolonged symptoms that could mean 1.3-1.5million," he added.
According to scientists, they found some patients have antibodies that attack their own tissues. Gabriel Scally, the visiting professor of public health at the University of Bristol, has asked the UK government to vaccinate those who are under-18s to protect them from long term effects of the virus.
However, the UK Department of Health said that the new specialist NHS clinics would help children suffering the long-term health implications of the Coronavirus.